Here is another dish that I took to one of our Labor Day barbecues…Gluten Free Pasta Salad. I love pasta salads because it is a great way to sneak in extra vegetables for my kids and they wont even gripe about it. I send small containers in their lunch boxes to school and Mike even takes some to work.
This pasta salad holds up well for several days, the veggies deteriorate faster than the pasta. I pretty much ONLY use Tinkyada GF pastas because they really imitate some of the properties of gluten pastas, like…they hold up to just about anything! I don’t have a single complaint thus far and I have been using them for 5 years.
I only venture outside this rule when I am looking for a special shape, like for my spaghetti o’s recipe. I am quickly learning though that all brands of rice pasta ARE NOT created equal! I have not found another brand of rice pasta that does not come out either 1) very chewy and gummy or 2) turns to mush, especially after storing leftovers in the fridge. So, when looking for alternative pasta shapes that Tinkyada does not carry, I seek out corn pastas. I have tried Heartland’s Finest Bean Pasta seeking out more nutrition and fiber, but I was NOT impressed. It completely fell apart and was very mushy from what I remember (this was at least 2 years ago so maybe they are better now, but I won’t waste my money to try it again).
1 package Tinkyada Brown Rice Vegetable Spirals
Your Favorite Pasta Salad add-ins: I used chopped Bell Pepper, chopped Carrots, Grape Tomatoes, sliced Persian Cucumbers, Trader Joe’s Marinated Fresh Mozzarella Balls (drained), sliced Pepperoni (I used Dietz & Watson brand that I bought at my local Albertson’s). Other great options would be broccoli (I am allergic so I don’t use it in mine), cauliflower, mushrooms, etc.
Your favorite GF Italian Dressing (I splurge for my pasta salad and go to Olive Garden and buy a bottle of their house dressing, it is my favorite. I would not recommend doing this if you are on a low-sodium diet though, there are 510mg of Sodium in 2 tablespoons! Olive Garden’s Italian dressing also contains milk and eggs.
- Cook pasta according to the directions on the package. Drain and Rinse. Set aside to cool (I throw my plain pasta in a bowl and put in the fridge for several hours). I have noticed that if I put the dressing on still warm pasta, I will inevitably end up using much more that necessary.
- Once pasta is completely cool, add chopped veggies, drained mozzarella balls, sliced pepperoni and dressing. Go slowly on the dressing, enough to coat the ingredients and then to taste. You don’t want the salad to sit in a pool of italian dressing! If you use pasta spirals, you need even less because the dressing gets in the little spirals for a nice burst of flavor!
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